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tv   Fareed Zakaria GPS  CNN  January 10, 2010 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

1:00 pm please take care and fareed zakaria gps starts right now. this is "gps the global public square." welcome and happy new year to our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm fareed zakaria. we have a terrific show for you naturally involving the attempted christmas bombing in the united states. before we get to it, i want to give you some of my own thoughts about that attempted terrorist attack. senator dianne feinstein says that she believes the united states government should overreact rather than underreact to these kinds of events. isn't that exactly backwards? the purpose of terrorism is not to kill the few hundred that are attacked, but to terrorize the
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tens upon tens of millions who watch. terrorism is unique as a military strategy and it defends for its effectiveness on the response of the society for it to work, all of us have to respond with fear and hysteria. so far we're doing just that. i don't mean to suggest by this that the system worked, obviously, it didn't. when u.s. officials got information from the terrorist father, they should have immediately checked if he had a visa or put him on a no-fly list. they should not have allowed him to enter a plane with a bomb. these will be fixed. there will be more mistakes uncovered over the years as we continue to go through this process and we must have the ability to calmly, seriously and effectively react to these problems, improve the system so that it gets better and better every year rather than going crazy. the atmosphere in washington these days, the media calls the political wrangling, the calls for head, these are all
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indications of panic and partisanship and overreacting will produce the worst policy responses large broad brush expensive efforts and get the military involved in every place that claims they have al qaeda and these might not be the most effective fixes. we need less grandstanding from everyone, including the president of the united states and more sober efforts to simply improve security and resilience within this country. anyway, that's my view. you will hear from a superb panel on this later. but, first, an in-depth conversation with america's top military man admiral michael mullein the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. let's get started. admiral mullen, thank you for joining us. >> good to be with you, fareed. >> does the christmas bombing suggest strength or weakness on
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al qaeda's part? at one level i look at it and think to myself, eight years after 9/11, this is all they're able to do. that's not very impressive. >> i think it's important that we look at this across a decade, if you will. there have been an awful lot of attacks, which have been thwarted. but the system, i think, general hayden said on sunday. the system has a human dimension to it and it's not perfect and we need to do everything we can to make it as perfect as possible so that, so that some of these spectacular attacks cannot be pulled off. >> but is there also a case to be made for being honest with the american people that, you know, there is a human dimension and that, you know, sometimes people will get through. >> i'm very confident. this president, this administration and the people, my colleagues will take these lessons and do everything we can to adjust where mistakes were made and make sure that it
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doesn't recur again. >> a few days before the christmas attack, you gave an interview in which you talked about your fears about yemen becoming a new base for al qaeda or new haven for al qaeda. have u.s. forces actually engaged al qaeda in yemen? have we struck them directly? >> again, i'm not going to go into the details of our operations. this has been led and rightfully so by the president in yemen, his forces and it's been very clear that their leadership has been critical here. we have provided some support in that regard and we'll continue to do that. to meet these challenges. but it is, it has been, in my view, an impressive operation on the part of the yemeni forces and their improvements over the last couple years. >> that's interesting that you
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say that. a number of people say this is a weak, dysfunctional, corrupt government and the president has staffed large part of the security and with his relatives and he faces three battles, as it were, a rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and then this battle with al qaeda and he's fo been focused least on al qaeda. >> we've been focused for quite some time. i can speak to the improvements that they made and also to the challenges. i think what you see in the public discussion right now are the challenges that are out there and you talk to the three different areas that he's very much focused on. and it is a country that is weak economically and it's got some of the classic tribal challenges that exist in countries like this and the leadership there, i think, recognizes this and is working hard to move forward. but i don't understate the challenges internal to yemen, as
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well as the need for the international community to support and help with respect to how we address this in the future and this al qaeda threat is not going away. it's going to keep coming at us and i just don't mean us, the united states, i think us internationally until we take steps to finish it off. >> you know, if i look at the intelligence that one gets and reads and it suggests that there are a few hundred al qaeda members or operatives in yemen. by your own admission, that's probably more than there are in afghanistan, yet we have, we will have 100,000 troops in afghanistan. why not take a much more aggressive approach in yemen? >> again, it's a sovereign country and we have great respect for the president there in terms of his, his judgment in terms of what he needs to do this and right now as far as any kind of boots on the ground there with respect to the united states, that's just not, that's
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not a possibility. i mean, he's -- we're not into those kind of discussions. in all of these, in all of these fights with al qaeda and with terrorists, it is typically relatively small numbers, nimble, agile, very typical and they have studied us and they have adjust and typically it does take larger numbers to get at those. in the case of afghanistan where you talk about we've got between ourselves and nato and other countries, actually, who are contributing upwards of 100,000 troops, that is really focused on making sure that the taliban doesn't turn afghanistan upside down and then create the kind of permissive environment where al qaeda could return. >> now, youv you are just back from afghanistan. >> yeah. >> give us a report on what kind of progress you see being made in achieving those goals and, particularly, in getting the
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pashtuns, who make up about 50% of afghanistan, but probably 100% of the insurgency and the taliban getting them to move over to the government in some side or another. >> i'll give you some data points just based on this trend. in december we recruited to an exceptionally high number for the afghan's army, specifically. so much so that the minister of defense had to stop recruiting mid-month because he was well over what the system could abso absorb. that is a good sign. that doesn't mean that we will have continued challenges. we do have challenges with their forces with respect to attrition and we raised their pay and we think they're showing up now has a lot to do with that improved incentives. i was in kandahar where i met with a number of elders there and the message that they sent me was the, we must see the
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corruption at every level. significant steps have to be taken with respect to that and certainly president oobalma and many others have spoken to the need for president karzai and his leadership to address this. >> what's your sense of that? have you seen any change in president's karzai steps? >> he's looking to ministers. he and i actually talked about this. his strategic intent is there. what struck me in meeting with these elders was the evolution of this corruption. so, it wasn't something that was always there. it's been over the last decade or so that they spoke to it. these same elders said to me that they were embarrassed that the united states soldier, sailors, airmen, marines were dying for them. they want to lead this effort. they appreciate what we've done, but they really want to lead this effort and this is something i know the president, president karzai is trying to
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engender in his leadership with his people. >> but what you talk about the leadership issue. you talked in the past about interviews about the critical need of good, local leadership. president karzai, by many accounts, is not moving forward in his second term. you know, his appointments to the cabinet were largely rejected by parliament and many on grounds that these people were corrupt. do you see a significant change in president karzai's attitude? >> i clearly from my views at this time, absolutely. and i guess the signature speech would have been his inauguration speech, i think that was on the 19th of november. very hard work to get ministers in placecommitted to that and the ones i'm heavily focused on are interior. >> you're satisfy would this? >> yes, absolutely. they are committed. >> you spoken in the past about how important pakistan is to the
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afghanistan struggle and you've, i think perhaps the first senior administration official to publicly acknowledge that, in fact, the leadership of the afghan taliban is almost entirely in pakistan. now, do you see any significant shift in the pakistani military in being willing to take on not the taliban in pakistan that attacks pakistanis, but the taliban that attacks the afghans. in other words, the people in northern warziistan who is making life difficult for american troops. >> the way i would describe it is it is shifting. these are discussions i had with the general of their army and i met with him many, many times. in fact, the same visit when i was in afghanistan i was with him in pakistan and i see more and more focus on this as he, as he described to me most recently, he just finished his
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ninth campaign over the last year, year and a half up in south wuzeerstone. very challenging for him. he shifted his forces over there and learning counterinsurgency and i spent all day in swat. flew from south to north and where a lot of us thought swat was a year ago and where it was headed is, again, completely reversed. >> you know, there are people who say you have invested a lot in the relationship with the pakistani military and with general keyony you met him something close to 20 times. you don't have much to show for it in the sense that the pakistani military taking on the afghan taliban. again, not the people attacking pakistanis who, of course, they'll take on, they're a mortal threat, but the ones killing americans or indians or westerners. >> i'm invested, i've invested my time in a relationship with a country that i think is absolutely critical to the united states and not just the united states military. we have a long history of
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support for pakistan and we've also left them hanging several times. so, it's going to take, i think, a long time to fill up that trust gap and that's one of the reasons that i go there so often to understand, really through their eyes, what their challenges are and try to rebuild that trust and so that's what i've worked so hard on. >> we'll be right back. >> are we at war or not at war? the obama administration isn't at war. this is a terrible, of course we're at war. that's literally in the sense of conducting an armed conflict. the obama administration is launching missile strikes against people in at least three different countries whose names are not iraq war afghanistan. was our best presentation guy. [ worker ] he is. just last week he told my team about fedex office print online for our presentations. we upload it to fedex office, then they print, bind, and ship it. the presentation looks good, right? yes, but --
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garlique's clinically proven ingredient maintains healthy cholesterol naturally. eat right. exercise. garlique. let me ask you about another country broadly speaking in the region. iran. you've talked about the need to think about all options with regard to the iran and with regard to making sure they do not develop nuclear weapons. let's be specific, do you believe that there is a military option for the united states in preventing iran from arequiring nuclear weapons? >> i wouldn't go into specific military options, but when i speak of leaving all options on the table, certainly, it includes the potential for military options. but i've also been very vocal on
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the need for the diplomatic and international focus here to generate enough intensity and motivation on the part of the leadership of iran to not consummate this threat. in turn, what i clearly see as their continued development of nuclear weapons, the strategic intent to do so, to basically -- >> just to be clear, admiral, you're saying that continued development of nuclear weapons. you believe that there is a clear path to weaponization? >> i believe they are continuing to do that. i have for some time. with the strategic intent to do that and i think that would be an incredibly destabilizing outcome and potentially generate a nuclear weapons race in that part of the world, i also think an attack, i've said this many times, i think an attack would also be, by us or by anybody
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else, be very destabilizing. so, in that very narrow space, i think it's important that leaders throughout the world do everything we can to make sure that, one, they don't consummate it and, two, we don't get to a point where an attack is imminent. >> how do you factor in the reality of the iranian oppositi opposition. if the united states more difficult for them, if israel were to attack iran, the first day after the attack, we, meaning the iranian opposition, would all have to come out and support the regime because we would have been attacked by a foreign power. we would have to show demonstrate our patriotism and support the regime and that would be the end of the iranian opposition. >> i think that's a very legitimate concern and it's one that we all understand and weigh as we look, as we go forward looking at ways to address this challenge. i mean, iran is a very critical
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country. and they have a wonderful population that can deliver a lot to the region and to the world. what i'm most focused on is their leadership, which has been much more destructive than constructive and that's really the focus here. so, i applaud the efforts to try to get them to the table and try to ensure this doesn't happen and i think that needs to continue. >> let me continue to ask you about russia. do you find in your dealings with your counterparts in russia that the russian military at its highest levels views the united states as a partner, an adversary or something in the middle? >> probably closer to something in the middle. i mean, i've met several times with my counterpart there and some of his military leadership. he's very committed to growing this relationship. clearly we have challenges not just military to military, but between the two countries and
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i'm also not naive. i think they are a country that we need to continue to engage and understand and be realistic about what the possibilities are. i've spent a fair amount of time working on the new start follow-on agreement which is the nuclear weapons agreement that hopefully will be put in place here in the next few weeks or months. so, again, it's back to that engagement piece and that's why i answer your question probably somewhere in the middle, emerging from a time where we certainly didn't have a very strong relationship. >> same question about china. many people in china report that there is a growing sense within some sections of the chinese government that perhaps there is going to be an inevitable clash in the long run between china and the united states, particularly with relationship to the chinese navy and its growing ambitions. do you see that?
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>> i don't see that as an automatic outcome at all. these are the two greatest economic powers in the country, two biggest economies, i'm sorry, in the world. and i think there are opportunities and, actually, responsibilities that are tied to those positions and, again, i think the two leaders have taken steps to signal that we want to work together. we have some huge challenges with respect to that. it's a really critical part of the world. we have allies out there that we have supported over decades and we will continue to do that and we will do that with a strong military presence. yet, again, that's not the only part of this relationship. i think there's been enough discussion of this to certainly put leaders in positions to head this relationship in the right direction so that we don't have any kind of catastrophic outcome. none of us believe that a conflict with china is going to
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be productive in any way, shape or form. >> final question, looking forward to this year, what do you see as your critical challenge? >> i clearly execution of the president's strategy in afgh afghanistan and pakistan. focused on what i call the broader middle east to include south asia. i remain very concerned about iran in that same vain. we continue, we will continue to come out of iraq after the elections, which are now set for march 7th and that appears to be on a good glide slip. i was just in iraq and we just confirmed that. >> you will be down to 50,000 by the end of the year? >> absolutely. that's the plan. we'll start that right after the elections. the other thing that i'm very focused on is the continued health of the force. a force that has win in two conflicts pressed hard. i also will, this year, try to spend some time on what's next.
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these wars are going to end. the world is going to continue to grow in complexity. what does the united states military look like? what are our needs? what kind of military do we have to have in a growing, fiscal environment, which is going to get tougher, i know that and i think the military leadership has to speak to this is whauts we believe we need for our national security. >> and we'll have that conversation when we have you on next. >> thanks, fareed. great to be with you. >> pleasure.
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is. now, for our what in the world segment. what got my attention was this number, zero. nothing. extraordinary number of american troops who died in combat in iraq last month. zero. it doesn't seem like a fluke. in both october and november, only two u.s. war deaths were reported, naturally tragic that they happened, but just two. for the entire last quarter of 2009 there were a total of four deaths that's compared to a high of 126 in a single month, a tragic record that was seen twice in 2004. and there are other bright
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spots. the iraqi government recently launched an important conference aimed at attracting investment there. business is beginning to boom in that country, a very healthy sign. iraq has become or is becoming something of a success story. i want to emphasize these are very early trends. iraq remains a very tough place. in fact, october saw only two u.s. combat deaths and also saw the worst attacks on iraqis in two years. two car bombing attacks on government buildings in baghdad that killed more than 150 people and wounded another 500. last month when more americans died in combat, more than 120 iraqis, mostly iraqis were killed in another coordinated baghdad bomb. what plagues iraq and what is behind almost all of this violence is terrorism, of course, but behind that still some degree of sectarialism. attacking a shiite majority
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which feels it is excluding it from power. the disputes between the kurds and the arabs. if all these ethnic, religious disputes can be mediated. iraq could turn out to be a place where political differences are resolved through negotiation and elections and we' where fervor for making money could be fervor for geod. that's good news all around. we'll be right back. >> right before this attack, there was another attack in yemen and it was a terrorist camp blown up from above.
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so what do we think of the attempted christmas bombing over detroit? are we overreacting? i told you my views at the top of the program, i think we are. i wanted to find out from some of the smartest people in
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counterterrorism and i invited them here richard deputy commissioner of counterterrorism here in new york city. steven flynn, the president of national policy who has written a lot about the subject and philip distinguished historian and director of the 9/11 commission. philip, i wanted to ask you what this tells us about al qaeda because at one level when i first heard about it i thought, all right, eight years after 9/11, what al qaeda has been able to do is, you know, really find some tactical opportunity, this wacky nigerian guy comes to them and says let's wire them up with a pretty sophisticated bomb and send him out. a very different approach and strategy than what was going on in the '90s. there's no great progression and does not suggest to me the kind of resurgence of al qaeda that
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people were talking asfwhout. >> let's talk about this. you have an operation over christmas day that has the exact same concept of operations as the richard reid attack eight years ago. before 9/11, 9/11 was the third large complex, intercontinental operation that al qaeda had mounted. they blew up two embassies si l simaltaneously and then they conducted 9/11, all three of these operations deploying operatives and staging them in another place and conducting fairly complex operations with a number of moving parts. and then you see this christmas bombing that's basically an attempt to replicate what they tried with richard reid eight years ago with a somewhat more sophisticated explosive device but the same concept. what does this tell us? it tells us that al qaeda is still at war with us, they're still trying to kill us, but
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their operational capability has been degraded and remains somewhat degraded. >> these are very different than the 9/11 attack and the cole bombing and embassy bombing eight years ago. they are lower level, but what they show is that this is a lower level threat but the al qaeda franchises in other areas, in this case, arabian peninsula are capable of launching their own attacks and a great deal of radicalization and occurring out there in the world which every once in a while will turn up someone who's willing to carry out an attack like this. that's what we've seen in the last year is about a dozen such cases in and around the united states of which this was the closest to causing mass casualties. another point is our intelligence community was focused in on yemen in a very serious way for the last three years. we have known yemen is a big problem, but the assumption and the assessment -- >> we have known about yemen for
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a lot longer than three years? >> of course, philip. they were principally a threat to yemen and especially saudi arabia that it was a cross border threat and i think there was a tendency to downplay the possibility that yemen would stage an attack transcontinentally across the united states in the sense of an aircraft. >> you don't think we're overreacting to this? >> we may be overreacting to the airport screening side of it. the airport screening side of it i think, actually, a much more productive area to look at the airline system so that we can more swiftly target people we have intelligence reasons to believe are a threat. >> you believe that the problem with this kind of overreaction is that it leads to very broad brushed measures rather than the kind of things that you're in favor of. >> i think the bigger, bigger challenge, really, fareed, is that the motive for our adversaries to engage in terrorism as a military weapon,
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which is it, is to generate a big bang for their buck. so, the extent to which we do overreact politically as well as through very expensive and disruptive and not very well thought out things to respond to the media concern and such a feeling of motivation for acts of terror. so, a big element of how we make ourselves more secure going forward is to invest in the part that we as a democracy should be able to control. which is our reaction or overreaction. we need to make ourselves more resilient. part of the resilience is the -- it's imperfect. always will be. so the political dynamic is what i very much worry about. the fingerpointing, that's an incentive for people to say, let's keep because we can divide it and we can essentially spending themselves into security supposedly and that's really not going to make us that much secure. >> so, philip, when you look at this broader war on terror, i want to pick up on something that richard was saying.
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the theory of the war on terror, which i think we all have bought in to is this is a broad effort against a group of extremists that are within the islamic world, that need to be cancer within the islamic world and we need to make a very offensive effort nationbuilding in iraq and nation building in afghanistan. my guess is we're not doing nation building in yemen. god knows it is a tough place to do it. should we approach this differently counterterrorism and very good intelligence and very good homeland security but, you know, whether or not we need to create a democracy in afghanistan, iraq, whether we need to produce good governance in yemen and solve their civil wars there, maybe that's not that important. >> we have vocabulary and are we at war or not at war? the obama administration isn't at war. this is a terrible argument. of course we're at war.
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that is literally in the sense of conducting an armed conflict. the obama administration is launching missile strikes against people in at least three different countries whose names are not iraq war afghanistan. that's armed conflict. so, a war is going on. the point is not that whether or not there is a war going on. the obama administration is conducting more such missile strikes per month than the bush administration was. the point is that it's more than a war. not less than a war. when you begin to say that the problem is a civilization must struggle within the muslim world which is right. the united states responsibility is that we have to send our people in to drain swamps in every one of those countries kind of in every one of the wilderness areas of the world need to be physically occupied by american troops and government officials to drain those swamps. we're embarking on a national agenda that is probably quick.
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>> richard, what do you think about this issue of should we be taking, in a sense, what i'm wondering, is the biden plan for afghanistan more true, actually, in a more global sense that is a real focus on counterterrorism, real focus on intelligence and real focus on homeland security and maybe, you know, less on this much broader effort to drain the swamp everywhere. >> fareed, you're taking me back to my days at the white house and harvard. we worry about far more local concerns. i do think we need to be very targeted and focused globally on this and nation building is likely to be not particularly effective or cost effective way to deal with this terrorism threat, as we've discussed it here. the effective way to deal with it is to find those few hundred or maybe low thousands of people who are a threat and exclude them from our country and arrest them and bring them to justice and if we really have actionable intelligence and know they are a
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threat, destroy them from above. this is the, i think, the single most important thing that we need to be doing effectively to protect this country. and i frankly credit the obama administration with not backing off as far as i can tell one bit from what the bush administration was doing and, indeed, expanding it in certain respects. right before this attack, there was another attack in yemen and it was a terrorist camp blown up from above. >> blown up probably using u.s. fire power. >> right. and, so, this is noteworthy fact. we may have had an inteliance failure on the defensive side. finding an operative when the bomb on the person coming into this country but still using it in an offensive way which was locating part of the threat and destroying it. we will be back right after this with more on war on terror abroad and at home. >> it is a very ingenious bomb designed expressly to evade
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detection. rather sophisticated bomb. it's like finding a needle in a haystack. bombs like this don't come along very often. 2 million people per day. we can spend billions and billions of dollars trying to get every one of these people exhausti exhaustively in finding this one bomb.
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hello, i'm fredricka whit field at the cnn headquarters in atlanta. president barack obama is accepting laraccep accepting harry reid's apology for making a racially insensitive comment about the president while he was on the presidential campaign trail. reid is saying that obama could win the democratic nomination in quote because of his light skin and because he had no negro dialect. people from the midwest to florida struggling to stay warm in bone chilling cold weather, snow flurries have been reported as far south as naples, florida. citrus growers in central florida are scrambling to save their crops. the temperature there is expected to drop into the 20s for several hours, again, tonight. and top u.s. commander david petraeus says the u.s. must make
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a long-term commitment to fight the terror threat in yemen. an exclusive interview with cnn's christiane amanpour he said part of that commitment is financial, but not ground troops. catch chris jones entire interview at the top of the hour. those are the headlines. back to fareed zakaria "gps" in a minute. imagine... one scooter or power chair that could improve your mobility and your life. one medicare benefit that, with private insurance, may entitle you to pay little to nothing to own it. one company that can make it all happen... your power chair will be paid in full. the scooter store. hi i'm dan weston. we're experts at getting you the scooter or power chair you need. in fact, if we pre-qualify you for medicare reimbursement and medicare denies your claim, we'll give you your new power chair or scooter free. i didn't pay a penny out of pocket for my power chair. with help from the scooter store,
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we are back with philip, richard and steven talking about the christmas bombing and what we can make of it. richard, there was a lot of focus right now on the sort of partisan blame game, but the other thing is the system in place whether it worked or not is largely a system created by the bush administration and i'm going to say by you because you were actually very key player in the bush white house on these issues. do you look at it at the institutional structure was pretty good, that there was data out there but that there was, essentially, a kind of human error here in terms of somebody not doing something as simple as saying, let's check if the guy applied for a visa. >> i do agree. i think the structure is basically sound, as it is. the collection efforts that were under way were really very
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impressive. far beyond what they were beyond 9/11. this is beyond human error. we will see that it was a very clear keconnection that should have been made and was not made. >> philip, there was another connection in the 9/11 that was pretty specific. there are two crscrew ups here. one why this guy was allowed to fly with a visa, a valid visa and not double checked and the second is that he was allowed to bring a makeshift bomb onboard. the commission actually specifically called for better screening. why did that not happen? >> we were, our recommendation was more specific than that. we said as an urgent matter, improve your screening for people carrying explosives. so, that was, that was five and a half years ago. but it's important to understand here that people more or less built the system that the
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congress, the interest groups influencing congress and the executive branch wanted because what you're doing is you're making tradeoffs here between how much risk do we accept versus what costs we will impose, monetary costs, costs of hiring extra people to do work, costs that will impose on people's privacy. so, you're constantly kind of turning the dial to find the right balance between risk and cost. but the main point to observe here is that we made these recommendations five and a half years ago. the technologies are not the limiting factor here. the limiting factor here is the balance that societies want to strike between cost and risk and then the way governments are responsive to what they're hearing from the society about that balance. >> steve flynn, is the balance real striking right? in other words, you know, despite this one very bad screw
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up, were we about the right place or should we be doing what seems to be happen and happening now, we're turning the dial substantially further in terms of more checking, more pat downs and more screenings? >> i think there are two ways to look at the issue of balance. the overall effort is on september 11th where the real resources have been applied is the war on terror piece that has taken the bat tool the nemally. the expense we made in iraq and afghanistan is an ongoing effort. they have been a very distant second in terms of overall effort and energy. not thinking about the vulnerabilities here at home and some of the problems and the management challenges and training whether customs, immigration officials or so forth here. that's not the front lines in the ways that we approached this. now that what we really see is that there are limits with the national security tools and always an imperfect system.
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>> another perspective on this. we have roughly 2 million passengers per day on aircraft flying inside the united states per day. this is a very ingenious bomb designed expressly to avoid detection. rather sophisticated bomb. it's like finding a needle in a haystack. bombs like this don't come along very often. 2 million per day. we can spend billions and billions of dollars trying to get every one of these people exhaustively searched in the effort of finding this one bomb that comes along. by contrast, we have about 5.5 million people per day who ride the new york city subway. so, twice as many on the new york city subway every day as in every commercial aircraft into and inside the united states per day. and yet we spend a tiny fraction of what we do on airport security to secure the subway, which has twice as many people at far higher densities. now, you don't have the -- >> you're not worried about our
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sports stadiums, for example. you could kill a lot more people than 300. >> we just can't focus on airline security. we can spend a lot of money to try to tighten this up, and we have on airline security, we can't ignore it. but a lot of other vulnerabilities out there. remember how ingenious this bomb is. this bomb if it is used again has the potential to bring down an aircraft and is really hard to detect. >> one of the key points which is highlighting the other areas being vulnerable. the airline security is the crown jewel of our post-9/11 homeland security efforts. what we have thrown the most effort and energy at because the reaction itself. other big parts of our infrastructure and there have actually been some good news on professional sports stadiums and other big gaping holes. our ports still remain very vulnerab vulnerable. >> tell the story of the los angeles port. >> really one complex and two
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cities occupy that port complex and brings in 50% of all the energy west of the rocky mountains. 58 million people in southern california require refineries to crank that fuel out and it's just in time. there's only about seven days of refined fuels in the entire southern california community so you disrupt that port and you literally run out -- >> this is coming out of one tap. >> coming out of one tap in the port of long beach. if you disrupt that port and you can't basically recover it quickly, be resilient enough to bounce back and there are apparently no real plans to manage this kind of contingency in part because the navy doesn't view the los angeles port as a strategic port because there's no great ships that leave it. what's astonishing is that we have a new war that's in our civil and economic space, that's where adversaries most likely to attack us on u.s. soil but a huge amount of money safe guarding military assets, but left the states and localities that don't have a lot of
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resources and private sector to take care of them selves. >> i want to thank all of you and thank particularly philip and richard because, as i said, two republicans here, one independent, i assume. and we've been able to have a serious conversation that has not degenerated in any partisan name calling and one wishes this could happen more in washington. could happen more in washington. we will be right back. something with it...
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now, for our question of the week. i didn't ask you last week since we were resting our brains for the holiday. now that we're back to work, here's what i want to know. we talked about the uproar over the attempted bombing of that plane over detroit. do you think the intelligence reviews and political fights, do you think it's an overreaction or is it warranted? i think it is an overreaction
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and i have a feeling i'm in a minority here, but let me know what you think, as always, i'd like to recommend a book. this is a terrific won i read over the holidays "india after gandhi the history of the world's largest democracy" by ramachandra guha. the book is not a quick read. it's the story of a country that is, in fact, a conglomeration of vastly different states and cultures, all of which fought an epic struggle to become an unlikely union. think about it, this is a country with 15 distinct official languages, 400 dialects and yet it has somehow become a single democracy that works. obviously, i'm fascinated by the story and i was born and raised in india, and i think you will be, too. it's very well written. before we go, let me remind you of our foreign affairs quiz. test your knowledge by taking


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